Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Sunday Word

"Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."

How would you respond if called upon to give up your material possessions? You'd whine, as any of us would - and for good reason. After all, is it wrong to have money to feed and shelter our families, to save our money to go to college, to give to the poor and to the Church? Don't think so. Having resources doesn't necessarily mean that our possessions are our masters or that we suffer from a consumerist addiction affliction.

So it's hard to pinpoint money as a necessarily dangerous addictive substance. But if it isn't money, what is it? Clearly, there's something here that has the rich man hooked.

In this case, Jesus finds the hot button. The call is clear: Give up what defines your life, and follow me. In this case, it clearly was the man's toys and playthings, the possessions he had managed to scrape together. Jesus challenges the man to make an exchange: drop what limits him in exchange for what frees him - opens him up to a wider and more meaningful life.

The rich guy can't do that.

And that's precisely the danger of addictions. They're so enjoyable. It's a struggle to be rid of them.